Sunday, February 05, 2017

Floods, a trolley, the Kinks, precious objects and a good cafe.

The waters are slowly subsiding. I'm thinking of sending out a dove to see if it comes back with a twig in its mouth. (See, despite being an atheist, I do know a bit of scripture). Anyhow the colour of the canal is toning down a little bit, although the top gates of Banbury lock are still overflowing.

On Friday we caught the train to Oxford and looking out of the window at flooded fields and catching glimpses of the Rivel Cherwell in full flow, we decided not to take Herbie any further south this week. We might be daft, but we're not suicidal. So today we tootled down to the tramway winding hole and back, and now Herbie is back in the town centre but this time facing North. Choosing a spot to tie up in Banbury, you have to get your head around the complicated mooring limits. There are three different zones (four if you include the permanent moorings and five if you include the winter moorings). Each zone has its own rules regarding length of stay, and these are different in summer and winter. It's just as well I'm a genius or we might be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Actually there's plenty of space here at the minute, but on returning from the tramway we did pick the only no go spot in town. The boat just wouldn't come into the side. Kath prodded around with a boat hook and located a submerged shopping trolley. I don't know if you have ever tried to lift a shopping trolley with a boat hook, but I don't recommend it. Suffice it to say the trolley is still there.

The reason we went to Oxford was that we had booked tickets to see the "hit" musical Sunny Afternoon at the theatre. I'm not a fan of musical theatre, but I thought we'd give it a go as it was the story of the Kinks with a lot of their hit songs in it. Well, it was fine. Musical theatre was not my cup of tea, and still isn't but it was fine. Not great, but fine. Others in the audience clearly thought is was a lot more than fine and gave the show a big ovation, so what do I know? I think I would better have enjoyed going to see a Kinks tribute band. But it was fine.

Oxford has many attractions of course and in the afternoon (which was anything but Sunny) we continued our exploration of the Ashmolean Museum, this time getting as far as the musical instrument section where you can see some priceless old fiddles and viols and whatnot in glass cases. Violins are in my experience very hard to tell apart. The Stradivari "Messiah" on display, presumably worth millions, looked like a lovely piece of work, but could I tell it from one worth a couple of thousand? Sadly not. Maybe if I heard it being played, but these instruments in their glass cases don't get played because they would get worn and in the end they wouldn't survive for future generations to see. Sad ain't It? Apparently most of the instruments in the collection are not in their original condition anyway, most having been repaired or modified in the past. I bought a little book to read all about the instruments in the collection and now I want to go back and look more closely.

Also in the museum we came upon an object claiming to be the most important archaeological find in Britain, but I'd never heard of it. It was indeed extremely pretty and not much bigger than my thumb. Can anyone guess what it Is? I'll tell you next time, perhaps with a picture if I can find one.

We found one more good thing in Oxford that I must pass on. In George street, only a short walk from the canal, is the Crisis Cafe. Almost opposite the Wetherspoons Four Candles pub. We just went in for a cuppa and a bacon roll, for lunch but watching the food coming out to customers we were impressed. Big portions of healthy and wholesome food at very reasonable prices, filled jacket spuds, salads, nice looking soup, and all profits going to the Crisis homelessness charity. Our bacon rolls were huge. I don't think Kath finished hers, well not the bread bit anyway. It gets a four star Herbie recommendation.


Halfie said...

A coin?

Referring to something else in your post, for most of my life I thought it was "Lazy Sunday Afternoon". There. I've confessed.

nb Chuffed said...

Is that cafe the Fire Station? My sister has eaten there and says the chilli (both meaty and veggie as they had run out of meaty the second time she went) is the best she has ever eaten. Apparently they offer catering training for homeless people too. So it's a good deal for everyone.
best wishes

David said...

I suspect the mystery object is similar to what Lance (Toby Jones) found in The Detectorists, an aestel.

Vallypee said...

When we were cruising last summer, we encountered a submerged car...beat that! And no, we didn't try and lift it out with a boat hook :) Sounds like the musical was probably fun if you like that kind of thing. I'd rather just go and see Ray Davis playing. He's an entertainment all by himself. I won't even try to guess what the object is...

Herbie Neil said...

Halfie. No and no! Not a coin (see next post) and Lazy Sunday Afternoon was the (admittedly excellent)song by the Small Faces.

Debby, I think you are right in that it might be the old fire station.

David/Rainman - clever old stick.

Vally. Submerged cars are ten a penny on our canals kids nick them and then drive them into the water. CRT are getting quite good at getting them out.